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Exclusive Podcast: Iraklis, Founder of the First European Bamboo Expo

12th ThinkBamboo Podcast withย Iraklis Kalamenios, a true bamboo pioneer.

Host JJ welcomes Iraklis Kalamenios, the mastermind behind the European Bamboo Expo, in the 12th ThinkBamboo Podcast episode. Iraklis is originally from Greece, currently located in Germany. They discuss the upcoming very first European Bamboo Expo 2023 in Dortmund. First, let’s delve into Iraklis’ journey with bamboo, and then we’ll explore the details of the event.

See Video Podcast Interview

Video podcast interview with Iraklis Kalamenios and JJ from

Video Quick Links

[00:05] European Bamboo Expo in Germany Dortmund
[04:56] A musician discovered bamboo in Colombia and started making flutes with it
[09:36] Bamboo is becoming more popular and versatile in various industries.
[13:32] Bamboo products event with global speakers and exhibitors
[00:37] Collaboration is key to success
[20:58] Bamboo is a regenerative plant that absorbs CO2 and produces oxygen
[24:45] Establishing a bamboo camping resort for tourism in Greece
[28:28] Bamboo World Map is a webpage with over 500 contacts from all over the world

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Iraklis’ Bamboo Journey:

Iraklis’s love for bamboo originates from his Greek heritage and the meaning of his name, “Hercules.” His last name, Kalamenos, means “out of reeds” or “out of bamboo.” This drove him to investigate the relationship between his family’s past and Greece’s bamboo industry. Specifically, he focused on reeds employed for furniture, umbrellas, and beach protection. Through his exploration, he discovered a profound connection between his roots and the versatile bamboo industry in Greece.

Musical Influence:

Iraklis’s interest in bamboo was further sparked when he began playing the flute at a young age. He discovered bamboo flutes from India and other countries, gradually building a collection of bamboo instruments. This musical journey introduced him to the versatility and appeal of bamboo as a material.

From Music to Event Organization:

As a musician, Iraklis ventured into organizing concerts, festivals, and various events over the past 25 years. His career took him to different countries, including the United States, where he discovered the abundant bamboo forests of Colombia. The sight of these towering grasses intrigued him and further fueled his interest in bamboo.

European Bamboo Expo

The Birth of the European Bamboo Expo – A Groundbreaking Event Orchestrated by Iraklis Kalamenios

Driven by his passion for innovation and unique experiences, Iraklis proposed the European Bamboo Expo ( to fellow enthusiasts. A decade ago, the timing wasn’t ideal. Now, with a thriving bamboo industry and growing awareness, the Expo is becoming a reality. Scheduled for 2023 in Dortmund, Germany, the European Bamboo Expo holds Iraklis’s excitement. After prolonged virtual interactions, he looks forward to physically uniting the bamboo community. Emphasizing the significance of human connections, he anticipates attendees engaging and interacting with one another.

A Physical Experience At the Bamboo Expo:

Despite concerns about no digital event, Iraklis emphasizes the Expo’s value in person. Online coverage assures global viewers can witness the event’s grandeur and prepare for Expo 2024. Shared content previews and excites, fostering community and anticipation among attendees.

The First European Bamboo Expo will offer a trade fair and lectures to promote growth and innovation in the bamboo industry.

Collaboration and Support:

Iraklis appreciates the support from individuals and organizations in the bamboo industry, making the Expo a collaborative effort. Their assistance ensures a successful pilot event, offering valuable insights for future editions. The Expo’s success is due to the collective contributions of many, creating a collaborative platform for the bamboo community. Iraklis acknowledges the crucial role played by these supporters in paving the way for a remarkable Expo. The collaborative nature of the event showcases the strength and unity within the bamboo industry.

International Representation:

The European Bamboo Expo attracts participants worldwide, representing diverse continents and 35 countries. Attendees include bamboo enthusiasts and professionals, fostering a global gathering. The event brings together individuals from nearly every continent, showcasing the international appeal of bamboo. Participants from Latin America and even Antarctica contribute to the Expo’s diverse and inclusive atmosphere. The event promises a truly global representation of the bamboo community.

Looking Ahead in The Bamboo Future:

Iraklis discusses the importance of seizing the current opportunities within the bamboo industry. As raw material prices rise and sustainability gains prominence, the Expo serves as a platform to explore innovative bamboo products and contribute to a greener future.

Additional Bamboo Project in Greece:

In addition to the Expo, Iraklis mentions his bamboo research and educational project in Greece. With the perfect climate and potential for bamboo cultivation, he aims to introduce bamboo techniques and facilitate investor partnerships to foster sustainable bamboo growth in the country.

Bamboo World Map

Bamboo World Map:

Iraklis also highlights the Bamboo World Map, a website he created to provide a comprehensive directory of over 500 bamboo-related contacts worldwide. The interactive map allows users to locate bamboo resources, businesses, and organizations in different countries, facilitating networking and knowledge sharing. 


The podcast concludes with the anticipation and invitation to attend the European Bamboo Expo in Dortmund. It emphasizes the enthusiasm, support, and collaboration surrounding the event, and highlights the potential of bamboo as a sustainable and versatile material.